SOFTWARE TINKERER Microsoft has launched a subsidiary to deal with open source software in a bid to show it can keep up with contemporary software vendors.
Microsoft Open Technology will have Jean Paoli as its president, with the outfit working on HTML5, HTTP 2.0, MongoDB and Node.js as part of its bid to invest time and effort in open standards. The firm also said it will provide "open source building blocks" for interoperable cloud services, which could suggest it might partially open up its Windows Azure cloud technology to compete with the rapidly growing Openstack alliance.
Paoli's blog post contained statements that many open-source followers would have found unimaginable coming from Microsoft even five years ago. Paoli said, "It is important to note that Microsoft and our business groups will continue to engage with the open source and standards communities in a variety of ways, including working with many open source foundations such as Outercurve Foundation, the Apache Software Foundation and many standards organizations."
Microsoft has in many ways finally bitten the bullet and realised that it cannot simply ignore open source software and push its own closed source software that adheres only to whatever 'standards' it sets. Recently Microsoft's contributions to the Linux kernel, a piece of software that was once dubbed "a cancer" by Steve Ballmer, had surpassed that of Canonical.
According to Paoli, the formation of Microsoft Open Technologies will speed up the firm's releases of open source software. While Microsoft's latest efforts to work itself into the open source community should be commended, long standing open source watchers will wait to see how Microsoft integrates into a community where it can't boss everyone else around to get its way. µ